Dean Israelite’s reboot of “Power Rangers” is meant to be a reboot for a new generation. It has diversity, and vision, and works well in making sense of a lot of the concepts presented in the original series. Fans didn’t need all of the ideas to make sense, hence the rabid popularity in the nineties, but “Power Rangers” offers a sincerity that undercuts the obvious need for the studio to refurbish the Power Rangers for a new generation of fans and potential toy customers. I, for one, really enjoy what Israelite does with his vision of the “Power Rangers” providing minute cosmetic alterations and some big changes in mythos that are hit or miss most times.
You can argue that the movie delves in to material that’s too dark, but I love how the movie readies us for an epic tale of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and their battle against evil. Israelite and writer John Gatins bring fans a brand new look at the Power Rangers, where Angel Grove is an economically distraught town, and our five teenagers with attitudes are actually five teenagers trying to find where they belong in the world. “Power Rangers” has a lot of ground work to cover in such a short time and it handles it well with a slew of strong performances from the entire cast. Israelite allows the cast of newcomers to shine as characters of depth and complexity discovering an inner strength, all the while implementing the seasoned supporting cast quite well.
Bryan Cranston is great as Zordon, the character that ties together the mythos, while Elizabeth Banks is delightfully menacing and terrifying as Rita Repulsa. Even Bill Hader gets his chance to shine as the new Alpha, a sentient android who trains the new Power Rangers. “Saban’s Power Rangers” threatens to be as listless as last year’s “Max Steel,” but it balances every element beautifully with brisk pacing, fascinating character focus, and some great action scenes. It’s a shame we’ll likely never see a follow up as I think Banks had more offer as Rita and her tailoring of potential nemesis Tommy Oliver as the Green Ranger. While it’s been pushed aside as a botched reboot, I enjoyed “Power Rangers” then and I truly enjoy it now. It’s a tight and fun fantasy adventure, and I hope we can get more of this new vision someday.
The home release features an audio commentary with Director Dean Israelite and screenwriter John Gatins, both of whom discuss the various elements of the production, offer some insights on the characters, and some plot themes compared to the show. “The Power of the Present” is a two and a half hour nine part documentary (Chapters include “Rangers Then to Now,” “Building the Team,” and “Beyond the Rangers”) exploring every single aspect of the production including the young cast, their sharing of anecdotes making the movie, and of the original show, behind the scenes footage, film clips, the differences in the reboot, costumes, choreography and so much more. There are thirty minutes of deleted scenes which include eighteen deleted, and some alternate and extended scenes. Finally, there is four minutes of outtakes.